Icelandic Youth

3. The Evidence

The evidence to show that the Icelandic model works is both convincing and detailed. The programme involves analysing 3000 to 4000 adolescents aged 14 to 16 every year, providing a solid and consistent dataset.

KEY FINDINGS

Percentage of Icelandic adolescents who reported use of alcohol, cigarettes and hash in the first 10 years of the programme

Alcohol

  • Reduction in the percentage of 10th grade students who reported being drunk in the last 30 days decreased from 42% in 1998 to 20% in 2007 (over 50% decrease).1
  • Percentage of Icelandic adolescents who reported having being drunk 10 times or more in the last 12 months fell from 21% in 1995 to 14% in 2003.2
  • In 1995, 14% of Icelandic adolescents reported having alcohol-related accidents or injuries, this dropped to 4% by 2003.3

Cigarettes

  • Reduction in the percentage of 10th grade students who reported smoking cigarettes daily from 23% in 1998 to 10% in 2007.4

Drugs

  • Proportion of adolescents who had ever used hashish in their lives decreased from 17% in 1998 to 7% in 2007 (60% decrease).5
  • By 2003, Icelandic students had lower than average substance use in comparison to all other European countries.6

Protective Factors

  • 23% of 10th grade students reported that they often or almost always spent time with their parents during working days. This ratio had increased to 31% in 2006.7
  • Adolescents stating that they had been outside after 10pm four or more times during the week fell from 36% in 1997 to 30% in 2006.8
  • In 1997, 47% of 10th graders reported that their parents monitored who they were spending time with in the evening. In 2006, the percentage was 67%.9
  • In 1997, 33% of 10th grade students reported that they almost never go to parties, which rose to 43% by 2006.10
  • In 1997, 29% of 14 to 16-year-olds said that they almost never spent time downtown during evenings. In 2006, this rose to 51%.11

The decline in drug use and increase in family engagement took place at the same time as the Youth in Iceland project was implemented.